Since May 29, 2015 when 4-time Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), assumed office as the country’s 15th President, one area he has consistently surprised Nigerians is in the area of appointment.
Nepotistic considerations, scandal-ridden records, arguments on competence and constitutional breaches as well as other controversies are regular eyebrows that have been raised against many of these appointments by the Presidency.
Closely related to this, is the President’s insistence on keeping up with controversial or non-performing appointees either as Ministers or heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Presidency. A case in point is the ex-Service Chiefs who the entire country cried for months about their incompetence, including the APC-dominated Senate.
Having resigned from their positions under controversial circumstance, the Commander-in-chief thought it best to forward the names of these retired soldiers as Ambassador-designates, regardless of their relatively failed performance in office.
So much has been said about the action by the President; with opposition figures describing it as move to to shield the ex-Service Chiefs from prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed during their stay in office.
Despite the unsolved challenge of insurgency, allegations of corruption leading to mutiny under their watch in their over 5-year of service, as well as the burning issue of staying longer than constitutionally permitted, the President’s insistence on seeing these men as the best thing that has happened to Nigeria since 1st October, 1963.
How did we move from praying for a change of failed military chiefs to witnessing their confirmation as Head of Missions outside the shores of the country? Indeed, the questions are numerous, but in essence, the start point should be: “Who appoints a failed teacher to train students for certificate exams?”
Notwithstanding these complains, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed the immediate past Service Chiefs – Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Non-Career Ambassadors-designates. Added to the list is former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshall Muhammad Usman who was also confirmed.
It is no doubt troubling to note that President Buhari considered the same officials under whose leadership, the country’s image took a dive abroad because of their largely-unsuccessful stay in office. What is most surprising for any well-meaning Nigerian, would be the moral audacity of the Senate who had repeatedly called for the President to sack the service chiefs for incompetence, to sufficiently find room to clear such officials for a higher duty of representing the country’s interest at its foreign mission abroad.
Other than the fact these very ex-Service Chiefs turned down invitations to appear before the National Assembly over worsening security situation in the past, the Senate went ahead to confirm their appointments without paying attention to the petitions sent to the National Assembly against them
If this is not a saddening case of collective amnesia, no one can should then judge many of us who describes it as it is – stinky hypocrisy!
To all other compatriots, you asked for change. The president has delivered that which you seek: BUHARI DE-CHANGE.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.